The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today concluded her trip to Ukraine, France and Belgium, during which she met with European counterparts and reaffirmed Canada’s steadfast support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This important work builds on engagement in recent weeks and months, including with NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and G7 counterparts.
Minister Joly began her trip in Kyiv, Ukraine, where she met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal, as well as with Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Andriy Yermak, Chief of Staff to President Zelenskyy, to discuss pressing issues facing the people of Ukraine, including the economic instability caused by Russia’s ongoing aggression and destabilizing activities. Minister Joly reaffirmed Canada’s intention to provide additional support to Ukraine.
Minister Joly made clear that Canada stands with Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. Minister Joly underscored that Canada is resolute in its commitment to the preservation of global security, and she personally thanked those helping to safeguard it when she visited Canadian Armed Forces troops deployed to Canada’s training and capacity-building mission Operation UNIFIER.
In Paris, France, Minister Joly met with Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to exchange perspectives on issues of common interest, namely Russia’s military buildup in and around Ukraine. The ministers agreed that the only viable path forward for Russia is to engage in meaningful dialogue and de-escalation. Minister Joly also met with Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary General of La Francophonie, to discuss ways to better support democracy, human rights and gender equality in the francophone world.
To conclude her trip, in Brussels, Belgium, Minister Joly met with Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, to discuss NATO’s unified stance on Russia’s military buildup in and around Ukraine and NATO’s ongoing efforts to call on Russia to take steps to de-escalate the situation. She also met with Charles Michel, President of the European Council, Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, and Sophie Wilmès, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade. In these meetings, Minister Joly discussed the importance of defending multilateralism and the vital role of a co-ordinated responses in deterring Russian aggression in and around Ukraine, including through sanctions.
Throughout her visit, Minister Joly expressed her sincere thanks to her European counterparts for their warm welcomes, and she emphasized Canada’s unwavering commitment to the rules-based international order and to Euro-Atlantic security, including the security of Ukraine and its people.
The Minister will return to Canada on Saturday, January 22. All COVID-19-related public health rules and guidelines will be followed.